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The Great Flood


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Given that almost every culture has a 'flood' story, it certainly appears that there was some ancient event that caused significant water problems.

However, of far greater concern to me now is a break in our plumbing that has flooded our basement. Luckily, we were on the problem immediately and there was no damage to anything other than the carpet, which needs to be replaced. Although I'm very grateful that we mitigated the issue so quickly, it has still been a royal pain moving everything around down there for the various crews to replace the pipes, patch up the walls, and lay new carpet. We also can't use the water in our kitchen yet.

So, on a more humorous note, I looked up which coins I have that deal with flooding.


This has to be at the top of the list, since it's the site of the Greek flood myths. The city was named for Dardanos, who was basically the Greek version of Noah. He grew up in Arkadia, was a son of Zeus, and when the flood hit he went on an adventure with his brother Iason. The two went to Samothrace where Iason got busy with Demeter and was killed with a thunderbolt by Zeus. Dismayed, Dardanos moved on to the Troad, where he founded the city in his name. His ancestors were major allies of the Trojans. 


Troas. Dardanos
circa 300-200 BCE
Æ 11 mm, 1,08 g


Pheneos was famous in ancient times for a canal built through the city. By myth it was constructed by Herakles, who evidently had more brawn than knowledge of flood plain dynamics and the problem plagued the city. The issue was never fully resolved and by the time Pausanias visited it, Pheneos was in ruins.


Arkadia. Pheneos
350-300 BCE
AE 13.26mm 2.13g
Obverse: Head of Hermes right wearing petasos
Reverse: Φ E, ram standing right, AP monogram before
BCD Peloponnesos 1614.2
Ex BCD Collection Purchased July 1976


In an odd coincidence, the day after our basement flooded, some pipe burst in the third floor of my office building. It then trickled down to the other floors and there are now vapor barriers and fans running throughout the core of the building. Some of the lobby was destroyed so we have to use the back entrance and then navigate the barriers. A lot of my team are working remotely, but since my home office was downstairs and has been packed up, I've been coming to the office. The only main annoyance is there's a line for the restroom because most of them were ruined. On the positive, all of our offices are fine.

Please show off your flood coins!

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The great flooding of the River Tiber happened because of a large bend in the river about 15 miles from Rome. Julius Caesar made plans for the straightening of the river and was constantly monitored by Augustas. This coin is not related to the flood itself but is significent to the river.

Antoninus Pius. Æ. As. TIBERIS. 140-143 AD
ANTONINVS AVG. PIVS P.P. Laureate head to the right.
  Reverse: TIBERIS. S.C. In exergue: TR. POT. COS III.
-Tíber reclining to the left and placing his hand on a rudder.

8.95g 25mm. Very scarce.
C-822. RIC. 706 a-S.
Tiberinus is a figure in Roman mythology. He was the god of the Tiber River. He was added to the 3,000 rivers as the genius of the Tiber



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Hi All,

An ancient flood coin many may have in their collections is from the recurring annual Nile Flood. Here is a typical example from Antoninus Pius and another that may allude to it by the mark on the obverse. See the intriguing article by Adolfo Eidelstein "«LIZ= 17» A Nilometer depiction on a coin of Hadrian from Alexandria".


ANTONINUS PIUS (10 Jul 138 - 7 Mar 161 CE )
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT Year 17 (153/154 CE)
Æ Drachm
Size: 33 mm
Weight: 24.5 g
Axis: 0
Broucheion Collection R-2000-02-27.001

Obv: Antoninus Pius laureate portrait bust facing right. Legend: [AY]TKTAIΛAΔP - AN[TωNINOC CEB]. Dotted border.
Rev: Nilus reclining on a crocodile holding corn stalk in right hand and cornucopia cradled in left arm. In exergue four items: patera?, poppy flower, bird?, and ?. In left field small eros entering a rounded shrine and inscribing in it: Iς (the optimal number of cubits for the annual Nile flood). Above shrine: L. To right of corn stalk: IZ. Dotted border.
Refs: Emmett-1622.17; Geissen-1707; Dattari-2763 var; Milne-2230; BMC-1152 var
Appearance: Reverse has two ancient metal flow flaws at 11:30 & 1:30 positions.


HADRIAN (11 Aug 117 - 10 Jul 138 CE)
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT Year 10 (125/126 CE)
Æ Chalkon
Size: 11x12 mm
Weight 1.09 g
Axis: 11:30
Broucheion Collection R-2019-09-30.001

Obv: Hadrian laureate head facing right: No legend except for I (high Nile marker?) in right field. Dotted border.
Rev: Three grain ears tied at bottom. In left field: L; In right field: ΔЄ. Dotted border.
Refs: Emmett-1176.10; Geissen-Unlisted; Dattari-Savio 1936, pl 95; BMC-891; Peus 398, 776.
Note: For Nile marker information see Adolfo Eidelstein "«LIZ= 17» A Nilometer depiction on a coin of Hadrian from Alexandria".

- Broucheion

Edited by Broucheion
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I hadn't thought about a Nilometer reference on my Hadrian piece featuring Nilos the river god. I have seen the Nilometers at Elephantine (by Aswan) and also by the temple of the deified Seti at Abydos.





The Nilometer at Elephantine. As you can see, the high water mark is far above the present level of the Nile, dating back to the times before the construction of the High dam and into ancient times. Sadly, the annual flood no longer occurs and the need for fertilizer has impacted the fecundity of the land.


Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Sorry about you being flooded @kirispupis and glad you were'nt drowned !



Hadrien (11/08/117-10/07/138)
Drachme de l'atelier d'Alexandrie, AD 131-132
ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ ΤΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑ CEB, Buste lauré et drapé à droite, vu par l'arriere
Le Nil assis sur un rocher à gauche, Un hippopotame dessous. L IϚ  dans le champ à gauche (16° année de règne)
23.87 gr
Ref : Emmett #1017/16 (R1), Kampmann # 32.516,



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Doubtless there has been some degree of hyperbole as the flood stories developed. Consider this coin of Apameia, on which Noah's ark is depicted as more of a sporty runabout than a massive cargo ship. For a full writeup sans tongue-in-cheek follow the link below to the original Leu listing.



Edited by DLTcoins
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@DLTcoins That's such an unusual and extraordinary type!

@kirispupis Sorry to hear about your basement troubles. We used to live in a house that was somewhat prone to flooding, especially during heavy rains. It's not fun! But at least it's not so bad that you have to be like poor Orontes here, swimming around in it!



And another water-related coin:




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AI Generated Image from DALL-E 2 of a dark and violently stormy sea

@kirispupis, glad to hear that your flood experiences were not too catastrophic.  I enjoyed the write-up and the coins.  Noah's runabout is certainly a hard coin to follow.  As Nilus seems well represented, I will offer this coin from the Black sea, a with a place name derived from ὄλβος (ólbos, “happiness, bliss”) Skythia, Olbia.  The coin also features Demeter (referenced in the OP) and comes with it's own Noah link.  Water is exchanged today between the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus.The Dardanelles recalling the ancient city of Dardanos.

Pontic Olbia is on the Black Sea and the archeological site is in modern Ukraine.  The Black sea is implicated in the "black sea deluge hypothesis" which proposes that circa 5600 BC an inflow of Mediterranean waters caused a catastrophic flood that significantly expanded the footprint of the Black Sea, without which Olbia would have been perhaps an uninteresting inland location,  Further there is speculation that this scale of flood could have inspired stories of Noah’s Ark, the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, and other stories of catastrophic flooding.  See the smaller Black sea Freshwater lake in the image below:


"During latest Quaternary glaciation, the Black Sea became a giant freshwater lake. The surface of this lake drew down to levels more than 100 m below its outlet. When the Mediterranean rose to the Bosporus sill at 7,150 yr BP1, saltwater poured through this spillway to refill the lake and submerge, catastrophically, more than 100,000 km2 of its exposed continental shelf. The permanent drowning of a vast terrestrial landscape may possibly have accelerated the dispersal of early neolithic foragers and farmers into the interior of Europe at that time."

- W.B.F. Ryan et al, 1997, "An Abrupt Drowning of the Black Sea Shelf", April 1997, Marine Geology 138(1-2):119-126, DOI:10.1016/S0025-3227(97)00007-8

Apparently a more recent study claims that the flood was not really that bad - just flooding an area the size of Rhode Island.

"The flood would have drowned only about 2,000 square kilometers of land (about half of Rhode Island), rather than 70,000 square kilometers (more than the entire state of West Virginia)." -Lippsett 2009 Oceanus Noah's Not-so-big Flood.


Greek, Scythia, Olbia circa 380-360 BC, Bronze Æ (18mm, 3g1g)
Obv: Head of Demeter to right, wearing wreath of grain ears

Rev: ΟΛΒΙΟ ΠΟΣΕΙ, sea-eagle left, grasping dolphin with talons.

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